With Hillary Clinton’s wins yesterday in Ohio and Texas, the Democratic presidential selection process is guaranteed to go on until at least the Pennsylvania primary on April 22 but likely much longer, possibly even into the summer.
The closeness of the race also raises the specter that the superdelegates, generally ignored and unknown, could play the pivotal role in selecting the eventual nominee. (Read Ari Berman’s recent magazine piece for the story of why a group of elite unpledged party operatives and elected officials not chosen by primary voters could be in position to decide the outcome.)
What the superdelegates should do, and whether they are bound by any principles, is now the subject of fierce debate. Geraldine Ferraro, in a New York Times op-ed, argued that the SDs should decide based on their own, personal sense of who would make the best candidate. John Lewis said he felt compelled to switch his allegiance from Clinton to Obama after his constituents voted overwhelmingly in favor of Obama, contending that SDs should reflect the will of the people.
Whatever you think, it’s critical to have accurate information on how the selection process is being conducted, a proposition on which the new Superdelegate Transparency Project was founded. A combined effort of DemConWatch, LiteraryOutpost, OpenLeft, HuffPost’s OffTheBus and Congresspedia–a project of the Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Media and Democracy, the STP calls itself “the most thorough, accurate and transparent reporting on how superdelegate endorsements compare to popular vote results and delegate counts–district by district.”
The effort is definitely the only citizen-led, grassroots attempt to bring transparency to the superdelegate process. STP also features profiles of and interviews with superdelegates, which have been donated to the site from HuffPost’s OffTheBus team of citizen journalists. The aim of the project is to open up the Democratic nomination process, and to gauge what effect the superdelegates have on the nomination. Want to help out? Click here.